The head of UBC’s sexual assault support centre says the university can and should do more to support victims.
Ashley Bentley says the school desperately needs a sexual assault response team, or SART.
“Often it will involve resources like counselling services, maybe campus police and local police detachments. It’s just to ensure there is a coordinated level of care, that there is clear processes and procedures in place to respond timely and effectively to survivors reports of sexual assault.”
Current and former students in UBC’s history department, who have accused the university of taking too long to respond to sex assault and harassment complaints, are also calling for the creation of such a team.
Student advocate Kaitlyn Russell (middle) say UBC needs a sexual assault response team. Other CDN unis have them. pic.twitter.com/FMHtX9f8YH
— Roshini Nair (@roshini980) November 22, 2015
It comes after current and former students, along with staff held a press conference calling the school out for its slow reaction to sexual assault cases.
That followed in the wake of the expulsion of a PhD student accused of repeated sexual harassment and assaults. Victims say the school took more than 18 months to take action.
One former student says she is launching a human rights complaint against the school, which will be looking at the school’s response going back 20 years.
Meanwhile, the province says it will be looking at a new province-wide policy to deal with the issue.
A statement from Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson says student safety is a top priority.
He says the Ministry is working with all 25 public post-secondary institutions to ensure that they have up to date practices around sexual assault and harassment to support students and staff.